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January 21.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
La Grone

January 21, 13 Jewish Life in Babylon - 535 – return from exile in Babylon - They were allowed to practice their religion - Couldn't own property - The synagogue – surrogate for the Temple - doesn't originate in Babylon - Fasting and prayer took place (in private homes) - Some issues with assimilation and acculturation (adopt some habits of the dominate culture w/o sacrificing your worldview in general). - Isolation/enclave culture – separatist culture (a sort of Amish of our time type people). - Ways in which Jews acculturated - Jews adopted Babylonian names, took on the Babylonian calendar, etc. - Cyrus allows them to go back to Israel – many Jews don't return – they got comfortable. - 520 – 515 – rebuilding of the temple - Reformers of Jewish life – Ezra (religious reformer – ban on interfaith marriage, restores public reading of Torah… called the “Second Moses”) and Nehemiah (Political reformer) – 5thC BCE - Busteney Oded – Babylonian scholar – 1) remarkable that Jews as a group survived (others quickly assimilated) group survival. 2) Disappearance of political sovereignty – Israel was wiped off the face of the map – never any political sovereignty – always under the rule of some empire. - What helped the Jews survive – 1) Monotheism (very distinctive), 2) Covenant (usually if you lost then your god was defeated, but they stuck to theirs), 3) Historical consciousness (public record of themselves – The Torah – public books – No other religion has a record of their history), 4) Genealogy (It’s about the group and not the land – it’s portable – also keeping track of their ancestors) 5) series of national festivals (Passover, etc…), 6) Traditions/Customs of the fathers/ancestors – these rites mark a group as different – all things are tied into each other. 7) Hebrew – preservation of the historic language, 8) Contact with the land of Israel - Story of Esther - 323BCE – Alexander Converts Israel Selucid and Ptolomaic – 198 BCE - Nebuchadnezzar is a rod of G-d’s anger - Maccabees revolted. - The Maccabees become Hellenized (Hellos – Ancient Greek anem for Greece) – Hellenism was seen as a threat to Judaism – you can easily convert to Hellenism – Jews tried to actively missionize people. - If you became Jewish you had to abandon all others. - Most Jews – the dominate lang was Greek. - Even learned Jews (Philo) - Hebrew bible translated into Greek – Septuagint – way to missionize and what to get people who didn't speak Hebrew to be able to read t. - GAVE THE JEWS PHILOSOPHY - Aristobulus (after Philo) Egyptian Jew – arg
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